Easing your child’s fears about coronavirus is not the same as talking to them about the common cold. Since COVID-19 is filled with many unknowns, parents — yes, even the famous/royal ones like the Duchess of Cambridge, aka Kate Middleton — are struggling to explain the pandemic to their children.
“It’s hard to explain to a 5 and nearly 6 or 7-year-old what’s going on,” The Duchess of Cambridge told ITV’s This Morning on Thursday about her oldest kids Princess Charlotte and Prince George. (Her 2-year-old, Prince Louis, might be too young to be asking questions.)
“It’s really hard. We hadn’t done a huge amount of FaceTime and face calls and things like that, but obviously we’re doing that a lot more now,” Middleton says.
She and her husband Prince William try to check in with family members daily, but she admits that it’s still difficult being apart from loved ones. They’ve also been homeschooling their oldest children, which has spawned some sibling rivalry.
“George gets very upset because he just wants to do all of Charlotte’s projects. Making spider sandwiches is far cooler than doing literacy work,” Middleton explained on This Morning.
But according to the experts we’ve spoken to, the royal family seems to be taking all the right steps to keep things somewhat normal for their children amid the pandemic.
“It is not necessary to talk about this virus daily. Doing so will likely increase the anxiety in children, especially those who do not have a full understanding of the situation,” psychologist Emily King told SheKnows. Instead, although parents should indeed make sure kids know that it’s okay to be afraid, they should mostly focus on everyday activities and maintaining a comforting routine.
To take proper pandemic talk one step further, pediatrician Douglas L. Krohn advises parents to follow authority guidelines and discuss the truth with your children. “You should discuss the truth and nothing but the truth, but not the whole truth,” Krohn told SheKnows. “A preschooler doesn’t possess the abstract capacity to really handle the full truth. They’re either not going to get it, or it’s going to be confusing or unnecessarily scary.”
Even though it’s hard to explain the coronavirus, Middleton is making life as normal as she can for her and Prince William’s three children — and that’s all any parent can do right now.